Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Tan Ban

The skin cancer community is overly excited about California's decision to ban tanning for minors. Then there are the people who argue that a parent should decide if their child is allowed to tan or not, but they do not seem to have a problem with the fact that it is illegal for their children to smoke or drink underage. Tanning beds are now known to cause melanoma. It's time to admit it, tanning bed lovers. Tanning is not good for you.

Last night I received an email from someone at Newsy. They had read my blog and thought that their latest video covering the Tan Ban in California would interest my readers. The video discusses California's latest law and how tanning salon owners are responding. Needless to say, they are not pleased. The video features the owner of The Body Bakery (Seriously. That's the name of the salon...You all know what I am thinking.) The owner says, "“If a parent is allowing their child- not child, but I mean their teenager to go tanning, then it’s up to the parents- not the government to, you know, allow them or not allow them.”

Siiiiigh. I wonder how long people will try to say that. I wonder if this is what people said back when they outlawed smoking for minors. I know, melanoma is just skin cancer, but it kills. When it kills, it kills quickly.

I posted a link to the Tan Ban video on my Facebook and an old co-worker posted: "I don't think tanning in general should be outlawed or anything bc I think it is a choice(maybe not the best one) but people let their kids 15,16,17 go and they go like every single day after school, that's nuts!!"  A part of me can understand why she would say that...The government has not outlawed smoking for people over the age of 18, why should they outlaw tanning? I am not saying (though I would like for it to happen) that the government should outlaw tanning beds for everyone. People should be free to make their own poor decisions; however, if teenagers are not allowed to drink an alcoholic beverage, why should they be allowed to get into a machine that could lead them to Hotel Melanoma?

Melanoma can and will kill your baby girl (or boy. Whatever.) We have very little control over cancer, there are some of us who will get a melanoma diagnosis without ever stepping foot in a tanning salon, but there is too much evidence against tanning salons to argue. In this article Dr. Rigel, a dermatologist at New York University, said "Twenty years ago, it was rare to see a woman in her 20s with melanoma, and we also did not see a lot among women in their 30s. Now, we commonly see cases in women in their 20s, and every one of them has a tanning history. The foremost issue for melanoma in women is tanning beds. For the first time, we’re seeing an increased incidence of melanoma in young women in their 20s and 30s, and the only thing they appear to do differently than young men is go to tanning salons." 

In honor of being diagnosed with melanoma 9 months ago yesterday, here are updated scar pictures:

The left side of my neck, surgery was on January 26, 2011

 The right side of my neck--full lymph node dissection
at MSK on March 24, 2011
Where it all began...
Wide Excision, January 24, 2011.

*I have two scars under both arms but they don't show up well 
in pictures these days. I also have two "bullet holes"
from the drains from the surgery in March.

(So, don't tell me that tanning is good for you.
It isn't.
I was just about scar free before melanoma,
I tanned because I wanted to be pretty.

Thanks to Aim at Melanoma and the California Society of Dermatology & Dermatological Surgery, teenagers in California will no longer have the option of tanning. I fully believe that had I not been a tanning bed visitor, I would not have joined Hotel Melanoma at the age 23. I am proud to be walking for Aim at Melanoma in November. 

*Thanks to those of you who have already contributed. It goes towards an amazing group.

1 comment:

Rich McDonald said...

"The Body Bakery" sounds like a great name for a crematorium. Keep up the good work!